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Save Your Skin Series: Xerosis (Dry Skin)

skin-careWelcome to the Save Your Skin Series, by Morag Currin.  In the coming weeks, Morag will expertly walk us through the issues that we may encounter with our skin as a result of cancer treatment. Please feel free to email your questions or comments.


Part One:  Save Your Skin Series


Today’s topic is:  Xerosis – dry skin.   Morag is joined by special guest Jeanna Doyle.

Xerosis typically presents as dry, scaly, itchy skin that can be found on any part of the body.  It can progress to chronic eczema if left untreated and can become infected with Staphylococcus aureus or herpes simplex virus if not handled appropriately.   Dry skin can be affected by a number of medications, and often people undergoing anti-cancer drug therapy will have dry skin during treatment. Dry skin is usually worse in the winter and in the fall.  Localised areas of radiation therapy can cause xerosis.  Clients undergoing stem cell transplants can also experience xerosis.


Xerosis requires intense moisturization with non-fragranced creams and/or balms.  Application should be started early on when the condition starts to manifest.  The use of soaps should be avoided, as they are extremely drying and the excessive use of hot water together with soaps/bath gels can strip the skin of any moisture that may be present, so it is important to re-apply creams and/or balms as often as possible including after a bath/shower and when the skin is still damp. Dry skin with flakiness can be treated with moisturizers that contain exfoliants such as salicylic or lactic acid or enzymes.


From Jeanna:

When applying makeup to skin that is dry or experiencing Xerosis, it is important to consider the application and the removal. Minimal contact in both cases is optimal.  The airbrush makeup technique is well tolerated to itching and flaking associated with this skin condition and is easy to remove with the least amount of contact to the skin.  For traditional makeup, use a sponge with liquid makeup and apply with an up and down motion, keeping a light touch. Avoid powder on the affected area.



DISCLAIMER: It is important that a person be referred to a dermatologist who specializes in dermatological issues resulting from cancer treatment.




MoragCurrinMórag Currin is a highly sought-after esthetic instructor with more than 19 years of spa industry experience and more than 10 years of training and training management experience. 

She pioneered the Oncology Esthetics® advanced training for spa professionals and has set the standard in Canada, US, Australia and New Zealand.  She is also the author of Oncology Esthetics: A Practitioner’s Guide (Allured Books 2009) and Health Challenged Skin: The Estheticians’ Desk Reference (Allured Books 2012).

Her students learn to incorporate adjustments to spa treatments specifically for people undergoing cancer therapies, and other health issues.

She continues to travel the globe with her training and expertise, helping to raise the bar in the spa industry and to open the door to all people regardless of skin type or health issues.

A contributor to many consumer and business magazines, her work has appeared in numerous national and international publications. Currin currently serves on the advisory committee of the Skin Inc Magazine Board, and the International Society of Oncology Estheticians.

Going beyond the world of esthetics, Mórag continues to reach out to those suffering from a variety of health challenges through Equine Facilitated Wellness (EFW).


JeannaDoyleJeanna Doyle: Licensed Cosmetologist, Medical Aesthetics Provider and Oncology Esthetician trained in corrective and airbrush makeup techniques. For more than 20 years, Jeanna has worked closely with plastic and reconstructive surgeons as well as with dermatologists and oncologists. Additionally, Jeanna has a strong background in makeup for print, television and film. Jeanna divides her time between Suite HOPE (Helping Oncology Patients Esthetically), a non-profit organization she founded to help cancer patients with esthetic concerns that arise as a result of treatment, and The HOPE Method, a training curriculum she developed to educate other OEs to perform corrective makeup on patients. Please visit Suite HOPE at and The HOPE Method at



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